When 1% = 82%



Rs 36,915 crore

What is it? The amount that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation will pay to acquire the government’s 51.1% stake in refiner and marketer HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) in an all-cash deal.

Why is it important? It would create an oil company that is more integrated across the value chain and can compete better with global rivals. This would also help the government exceed its disinvestment target for the current fiscal, when it has seen a fall in its indirect tax revenue and received lower dividends from the Reserve Bank of India. This is likely to help the government achieve its fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of GDP (gross domestic product).

Tell me more: ONGC would buy 77.9 crore shares in HPCL at Rs 473.97 apiece, a premium of 13.7% over its closing price on Friday, and it might need to raise debt to do so.



What is it? The number of members of legislative assembly of Delhi’s ruling party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), whose disqualification was sought by the Election Commission (EC) on Friday for holding offices of profit.

Why is it important? President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the EC’s recommendation on Sunday and AAP is likely to take the legal route for reprieve. Bypolls for these 20 seats will have to be held within six months. Although the disqualification does not pose an immediate threat to Delhi’s ruling party, which has 66 legislators in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, this may weaken the party’s prospects after a string of losses in recent elections.

Tell me more: After Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP swept the Delhi Assembly polls in 2015, winning 67 of 70 seats, his government passed an order to appoint 20 legislators as parliamentary secretaries to ministers, which was described as them holding offices of profit by a lawyer who sent a petition to the then President Pranab Mukherjee.



What is it? The number of high-risk pregnancies detected from over a crore checkups conducted across India under the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) since its launch in 2016, according to Union minister of health and family welfare JP Nadda.

Why is it important? This is among the primary steps to lower maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR). Although both have declined in recent years, India still has some way to go to catch up with developed nations. India’s MMR was 174 per 100,000 live births in 2015; or, 45,000 mothers died to due to causes related to childbirth, which was 17% of such deaths globally. Its IMR was 41 per 1,000 live births in 2015-16, down from 57 in 2005-06.

Tell me more: About one-fourth of checkups under the programme were done in high-priority districts that called for immediate attention. Based on individual needs, 84 lakh haemoglobin tests, 55 lakh HIV tests, 41 lakh tests for gestational diabetes, 33 lakh tests for syphilis and over 15 lakh ultrasound scans were done to detect high-risk pregnancies.



What is it? The amount of new wealth created in the world in 2017 that went to the richest 1%. Further, according to this report from Oxfam, the bottom 50% of world’s population saw no increase in their wealth.

Why is it important? The report is being released in the backdrop of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, from January 23-26. The WEF is the most exalted gathering of leaders from many walks, especially business and politics. This year’s WEF event, which is themed ‘creating a shared future in a fractured world’, will also see the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

Tell me more: According to the Oxfam report, the wealth held by Indian billionaires increased by Rs 4,89,000 crore in 2017, which is enough to finance 85% of the budgets of all states on health and education.



What is it? Guided by a late onslaught by Jos Buttler, England yesterday beat Australia in the third one-day international (Odi) at Sydney to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five match bilateral series.

Why is it important? England were routed 4-0 in the prestigious test series between the two sides, christened Ashes, just prior to the ODIs. Winning the ODI series might be some solace for the English players. For the Barmy Army, a vocal travelling unit of English fans, it was something more: once a win became imminent match yesterday, they broke into a chant of “we are going to win 5-4”.

Tell me more: Of the 16 ODIs played by Australia since January 2017, they have won only three, while losing 10 (three matches were no results), raising many questions around their readiness of their defence of the ODI World Cup in 2019.


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A Bitcoin Is Worth Gold

Bitcoin is now worth a half kilogram of gold. Indians have taken to trading in the cryptocurrency as 11 bitcoin trading platforms have cropped up in the country where about 30,000 members on average trade on any given day. Is it a bubble waiting to be burst or currency waiting to be recognised, is not known yet. What’s known is that it is not legally recognised in India and IT watchdog is hawk-eyeing every Bitcoin transaction on these exchanges.


Rs 14.1 lakh

What is it? The amount one has to pay to buy one unit of bitcoin from Bengaluru-based bitcoin firm Unocoin, including a fee and tax, according to the rate on Wednesday evening.

Why is it important? Bitcoin is not legally recognised in India. Income tax authorities are reportedly investigating transactions at bitcoin exchanges, including in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Gurgaon. It is not clear if these investigations are related to money laundering or tax evasion. Also, there is no clarity on the levy of taxes related to Bitcoin transactions in the country.

Tell me more: There are reportedly at least 11 Indian bitcoin trading platforms that claim to have about 30,000 members actively trading at a given point of time.



What is it? The percentage of world population that does not have full coverage of essential health services, according to a report by the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

Why is it important? This highlights the distance the human race needs to go in terms of achieving universal basic health coverage. It says about 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty (living on $1.9 or less) as they have to pay for healthcare and nearly 12% of the global population spends at least a tenth of their household budget on healthcare.

Tell me more: According to a study by medical journal Lancet, India ranks a poor 154 of 195 countries in access to healthcare. It also fares badly in terms of government spending on healthcare, parting with just 5% of its total expenditure compared to China’s 10.4%.


0.25 percentage point

What is it? The amount by which the US central bank has increased its key interest rate, in a move that was widely expected.

Why is it important? The US federal funds rate, which helps determine rates for mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing, will now hover in the range of 1.25% to 1.5%. This is the fifth time the Fed has lifted interest rates since the 2008 financial crisis. Policy makers plan to raise rates three more times in 2018, and then twice in 2019. Despite the current and planned increases, US interest rates remain at historically low levels.

Tell me more: Key US share indices hit all-time highs following the government reporting healthy macroeconomic numbers and news that it would be able to muster the numbers to push through a business-friendly tax package.



What is it? The increase in overall cost of solar projects following the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), according to the All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA).

Why is it important? The AISIA general secretary, in letters to the revenue secretary and other government officials, has said that this would be detrimental in achieving the solar power capacity of 100 GW by 2022 under the National Solar Mission. The association says that solar power generating systems are being charged 5% tax, but equipment such as module mounting structures, transformers, cables and trackers are subjected to different rates under GST.

Tell me more: In a note this May, consulting firm Bridge to India had said that a 5% tax on solar panels, instead of 18% proposed earlier under GST, would translate to an increase of 4% in cost of solar power projects.



What is it? Number of double hundreds scored by Indian batsman Rohit Sharma in one-day internationals. His latest came on Wednesday, when Sharma carted Sri Lanka for 208 not out in 153 balls.

Why is it important? No other batsman has two double hundreds in ODIs, leave alone three. In all, five batsman have scored 200 or more in the 50-over format, including three Indians. The pace of evolution of batting in this format can be gauged from the fact that the first 200 was scored only in 2010. And since then, six more have been racked up.

Tell me more: Sharma’s knock on Wednesday was a tale of two innings. In his first 126 balls, he scored 116 runs. In the next 27 balls he faced, he smashed 92 runs, including 11 sixes and three fours. Such acceleration has been the feature of all his three efforts.


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Two States Ban ‘Padmavati’


‘Padmavati’ is in dire straits. In the tech world, Uber hid a massive data breach for a year. Indian Air Force has bolstered its capabilities. Now it can strike enemy warships 1,500 kilometers off the coast within a few minutes. While, India is planning to become a huge market for electric vehicle batteries by 2030. 


57 million

What is it? The number of customers and drivers whose personal data was stolen by hackers from Uber Technologies about a year ago.

Why is it important? The ride-hailing app concealed the massive data breach for a year. It fired its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their involvement in keeping this a secret, which includes a $100,000 payment to the hackers. Regulators in some countries have said they would investigate the matter further that makes the ride rougher for Uber, which has been battling top-level executive exits over issues such as sexual harassment, data privacy concerns and working conditions of drivers.

Tell me more: Compromised data from the October 2016 breach included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber customers, in addition to personal information of 7 million drivers.


290 km

What is it? The strike range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

Why is it important? The missile was successfully tested for the first time from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter against a sea-based target on Wednesday. This means the Indian Air Force now has the capability to strike enemy warships 1,500 kilometers off the coast within a few minutes. The world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile is now capable of being launched from air, sea and land.

Tell me more: The BrahMos missile, developed in a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and NPOM of Russia, is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft.


$300 billion

What is it? The projected size of the market for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in India by 2030, according to a report by Niti Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute.

Why is it important? A stated aspiration of the Indian government is to have only electric vehicles entering the market from 2030. If it presses on these and if the report projections are met, India would account for 40% of global EV battery demand in the next 13 years. However, it remains to be seen how feasible the electric dream of various countries (including India) is, given that EV batteries use nickel, cobalt, aluminium, graphite and lithium. These are rare earths, and their availability is much lesser than that of coal and oil.

Tell me more: The report says India’s demand for EV batteries could bring down global battery prices by 16% to $60 per KWh by 2030.



What is it? The number of test series in Australia that England have won in their last five tries, dating back to 1998-99.

Why is it important? The two oldest cricketing nations renew their cricketing rivalry today. The first test of the five-match test series, better known as the Ashes, is underway at Brisbane, Australia. England, smarting from the loss of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes, are not tipped to change that dismal record in this trip.

Tell me more: The last time that England won in Australia was in 2010-11, when they won 3-1, with all three wins being by an innings margin.



What is it? Number of states to have banned the yet-to-be-released Hindi period film Padmavati. On Wednesday, Gujarat became the second state, after Madhya Pradesh, to do so by issuing a notification.

Why is it important? This further jeopardizes the film’s prospects from having a timely and disruption-free release, which could trigger commercial losses across the board. So far, chief ministers of at least five states—four of them ruled by the BJP (Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan) and one ruled by the Congress (Punjab)—have spoken publicly against the film.

Tell me more: A sixth chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar in BJP-ruled Haryana, said the state would wait for the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)’s notification on the film.


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News in numbers, Apr 22, 2016: FDI into India in 2015, Time’s list of 100 most influential people…

$63 billion

What is it? Foreign direct investment into India in 2015.

Why is it important?  It’s more than what China, which has been a huge magnet for greenfield capital investments last few decades, received during the same period. China attracted $56.6 billion in 2015, spread over 789 projects. India’s $63 billion was spread over 697 projects. The FDI has created 2.25 lakh new jobs in 2015 in India (compared to 1.6 lakh new jobs in 2013).

Tell me more:  The report is from fDi Intelligence, data division of Financial Times. The report said the Asia Pacific region accounted for 45% of all greenfield investments, taking in $302.5 billion and 3883 projects.



What is it? The stake United Kingdom government is willing to buy in Tata Steel’s UK business.

Why is it important?  It might help Tata find a credible buyer, and in turn, help UK save about 15,000 jobs. Tata has been trying to sell its UK steel business, bought through its $12.9 billion acquisition of Corus Group in 2007. The business has turned sour with rising costs, drop in steel demand and cheap imports from China as well as a series of internal issues.

Tell me more:  Earlier this month, Greybull Capital offered to buy its long products business for one pound, and possibly save around 4,400 jobs. Tata Steel is in talks with a number of potential buyers.  


$42 million

What is it? The penalty on West Indies Cricket Board that BCCI (Board Of Control For Cricket In India) has now waived. It was imposed on WICB for West Indies team abandoning the 2014 tour midway.

Why is it important? This brings an end to a long spat between West Indies and India. The unfinished games will be played next year, as it was hinted last December. It also clears ground for more matches between the two teams since BCCI had suspended all bilateral tours till the issue was resolved.

Tell me more:  In 2014, West Indies, under captainship of Dwayne Bravo, had abandoned its tour in India midway over payment structure dispute between the players, WICB and West Indies Players’ Association.


> 150

What is it? The number of countries that will sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Friday, 22 April Earth Day in New York.

Why is it important? It’s the first significant step in taking forward the landmark deal struck in Paris last December, which seeks to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degree C. It comes at a time when the effects of global warming are causing increasingly more concern. For example, the first three months this year has been the hottest ever.

Tell me more:  While it’s a significant first step, experts believe countries need more ambitious plans to tackle the impact of climate change – heat waves, food shortages and fast rising seas.  



What is it? The number of Indians in Time magazine’s 2016 list of 100 most influential people.

Why is it important? It’s a sign of soft power and widely followed and debated in India, even if the process of measuring people’s influence or someone making it to the list is far from perfect. Raghuram Rajan, Priyanka Chopra,  Sania Mirza, Sachin Bansal, Binny Bansal, Sunita Narain made it to the list. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, widely expected to be in the list, did not.

Tell me more: The first Time 100 list was published in 1999, with a list of 100 most influential people of 20th century. (Albert Einstein was ranked number 1, followed by Mahatma Gandhi). US President Barack Obama holds the record for maximum appearance, making to the list 11 times. The 2016 list also featured Aziz Ansari, Sundar Pichai, Raj Panjabi and Nikki Haley, all persons of Indian origin.

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